Thursday, March 08, 2001

Court: Federal benefits don't alter child support

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Federal benefits that a child receives because of a disability should not affect how much support a parent must pay, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled Wednesday.

        The ruling means that support payments in an Allen County case must be recalculated. The amount had been reduced to $1,422 per year from $6,066 because the county court ruled that Supplemental Security Income should be counted as the child's income.

        “SSI benefits ... do not diminish a child's need for support,” Justice Alice Robie Resnick wrote. “SSI benefits received by a disabled child are intended to supplement other income, not substitute for it.”

        Judges often decrease support when there is no hardship and a parent is receiving federal money for child with a disability that doesn't cause extraordinary ex penses, attorneys said.

        They now have a ruling to turn to when determining whether child support should be decreased, said David Evans, an attorney with the Allen County Child Support Enforcement Agency.

        “I don't find fault with the . . . decision here,” Mr. Evans said. “Until now, we just didn't have a case in Ohio that dealt with this.”


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